Peter Lawrie and David Higgins have been handed a last minute lifeline by the European Tour that could help them their retain their tour cards this week.
Following discussions at the most recent Players Committee meeting in Portugal, the removal from the top 110 in the official Race to Dubai standings of affiliate members who had not fulfilled their minimum 13 event requirement this season was discussed at length.
While the rules were changed last year to allow affiliates to remain in the top 110, 78th ranked Tim Clark and 103rd ranked Carl Pettersson have confirmed to Wentworth that they do not intend to take out membership in 2014. That has given the tour the option of removing them from the standings at the end of the regular season, which falls after this week’s Perth International in Australia, without breaking tour regulations. See Race to Dubai standings
In short, it means that 114th ranked Lawrie and 115th ranked Higgins are effectively now 112th and 113th respectively, adjusting the amount of cash they may need to win in Perth this week to end up in the Top 110 after play on Sunday who will retain playing rights next season.
Before tonight’s clarification by the European Tour, Lawrie needed an estimated Top-34 finish and Higgins a Top-20 at Lake Karrinyup to make enough cash to move into the Top 110 in the Race to Dubai standings.
Now Lawrie needs just only to make the cut for the first time in his last seven starts while Higgins needs to earn at least €7,476, the equivalent of solo 47th place or better.
However, both can still get leapfrogged if players behind them in the Race to Dubai happen to win or finish in the big money places in Perth.
Swedes Peter Hedblom (179th in the Race to Dubai and joint leader in Australia), Fredrik Andersson Hed (130th/T5) and Bjorn Akesson (142nd/T5) or England’s Sam Little (166th/T5) can all cause them headaches.
Whatever happens, the Irish duo now have a better chance of avoiding Q-School. Both have work do to after opening with one over 73s, which leaves them just inside the projected cut mark. If they miss the cut, they will lose their cards.
The European Tour issued the following news release on Thursday evening:
Clarification on 2013 Race to Dubai and resulting 2014 Membership
Please note the following with regards to the 2013 Race to Dubai: -
1. The cut-off for Category 10 in 2014 is the Top 110 from the 2013 Race to Dubai as published after the ISPS Handa Perth International*.
2. The following is the status of players within the Top 145 on the 2013 Race to Dubai who have not played 13 events:
Rank Name Status
46th Jonas Blixt Affiliate Member – no minimum event obligation – he is taking 2014 ranked membership so he will stay in the Race to Dubai.
78th Tim Clark Affiliate Member - not taking up 2014 ranked membership so he will come out of the Race to Dubai published at the end of this week.
103rd Carl Pettersson Affiliate Member - not taking up 2014 ranked membership so he will come out of the Race to Dubai published at the end of this week.
107th Dawie Van der Walt Category 10(d) – non-member winner during 2013 season, only required to play 10 events which he will do in Perth this week - (1/3 of remaining events after his win), so he will stay in the Race to Dubai.
127th Simon Thornton Category 10(d) - new winner during 2013 season, only required to play 4 events which he has already done - (1/3 of remaining events after his win), so he will stay in the Race to Dubai.
All other Ranked Members within the top 145 on the Race to Dubai who have not yet played 13 events are currently entered into sufficient events to do so by the end of the 2013 Official Season.
3. When the Race to Dubai is converted to points at the end of the ISPS Handa Perth International, whilst the cut off for the Top 110 (Category 10 for 2014) will be set*, eligible players within the top 110 will of course still have the ability to improve their Race to Dubai position (and resultant 2014 ranking) during the final series.
4. Statistics indicate (not confirm) that the last 8 places allocated to the Race to Dubai for the BMW Masters can still be secured by members competing at this week’s ISPS Handa Perth International.
5. Should a non-member win the ISPS Handa Perth International this week and immediately choose to take up European Tour membership, his earnings from the event will appear in the Race to Dubai published after the event. If he does not make this decision before the Race to Dubai is published this week, he will have lost this right for the remainder of this season.
* NB. Whilst no other players can move into the top 110 as a result of money won in the final series after this date, any Ranked Member in the Top 110 who thereafter fails (for whatever reason) to fulfil his minimum event regulation by the end of the 2013 Official Season, will still be removed from the Final Race to Dubai. This would result in the player ranked 111 becoming ranked 110 and gaining 2014 Membership in Category 10.